I was quite disappointed last week when I read this story. In short, the student senate of one of our fellow Kansas universities (Kansas State – Salina) denied funding for a transgender speaker that a student group wished to bring to campus. (To be clear, Kansas State and Kansas State-Salina have separate senates. In fact, KSU is even hosting Campus Q’s Out and Greek Conference.)
If you read the story, you will see that the student senators used a variety of excuses not to fund the speaker, including violent comments left in the student senate comment box. This is just the kind of reaction that cries out for this speaker to be funded! Of course, I don’t wish violence to occur should the speaker come to campus, but ignorant threats such as these need to be combated. I would hope that these student senators would realize that ignorance needs to be educated, not indulged.
For those of you not from Kansas, let me give you a little context. Salina, along with most of Kansas, is rather conservative. Actually, that’s an understatement. Take a look at this to see what I mean. Don’t let the map fool you; blue is Republican on that map. My point here is this: if anywhere needs exposure to transgender issues, it’s Salina. So I applaud the students who are trying to educate their peers and their community, and I hope they can find the alternative funds to bring the speaker. And above all, I hope students and community members will open their minds for long enough to maybe learn something new about those who are different from them.